An Ann Demeulemeester to Sit On
MoMu has recently been able to boast of having several new designs by Ann Demeulemeester. This time, they are not her fashion silhouettes, but her new furniture designs. The star of the show is undoubtedly a three-part modular sofa in the museum entrance hall. This made-to-measure seating allows visitors to wait, or to take a breather, in style. The sofa was made especially for the museum, in the style and atmosphere of Ann Demeulemeester’s Serax collection. In addition to this, other furniture pieces by this designer are distributed throughout the museum, including the chairs, benches and tables in the exhibition galleries. We spoke to Ann Demeulemeester on her expansion into furniture.
Broader than wearable fashion, with the same signature
These pieces are part of Demeulemeester’s first furniture collection in collaboration with Serax. Her partnership with this renowned Belgian design brand began in 2019, with dinnerware, glassware, cutlery and lighting. Their first furniture line followed in 2022, designed together with her partner, Patrick Robyn. The collection bears a very distinct Ann Demeulemeester signature, like that of her fashion collections.
In her designs for Serax, Ann Demeulemeester combines the strict discipline of the modernist design classic with warm materials and colours. That interplay between contrasts is also inherent to her fashion collections. I am very pleased that we are able to show here how designers can successfully break through the barriers of their own professions.
You said somewhere that the distance between making a table and making trousers is not that big. What is the common ground between your clothing collections and furniture designs?
"After years of designing, we have developed our own style and vision. The material or object may differ but our vision remains the same."
How did you go from ceramics, dinnerware and lighting to furniture for Ann Demeulemeester - Serax?
"In a very spontaneous way. We are designers and makers at heart. It makes us happy to create and experience beauty in every possible way. We turn idea and dream into reality."
You designed a seat element exclusively for the entrance hall of the museum in the atmosphere of the Ann Demeulemeester - Serax collection. How did you approach this?
"We are very interested in creating pieces of furniture for specific locations. In 1999, we designed seating for the Leopold Dewael Square in Antwerp. It ended up being a large, round bench made of cast iron. That bench is still there, in front of KMSKA, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, and both the inner and outer circles have been used intensely ever since. It became a kind of meeting place."
"As a follow-up to that, we also designed an open circle for MoMu, to serve as an invitation to visitors. The form and the execution are more sensual and adapted to the museum. A straight version of this sofa is in the Ann Demeulemeester flagship store. A smaller version is also included in our furniture collection in collaboration with Serax."
Besides your clothing collections, visitors can also discover your furniture designs at MoMu. How does this make you feel?
"It is nice that the public can see and experience our 'other' creations as well. It is part of an evolving work that keeps taking on different forms."